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Some of you might remember the angry contractor incident from a couple of months ago.
An ex-contractor of mine, still a contractor at the time had author privileges, and decided to write an article called “Why WP Intense is a scam!”. He was angry because of an invoice dispute – I was disputing the hours he claimed on 2 of his last invoices once I had found out how little he had actually done. I had also paid him in advance for finishing the article about installing a fast stack with Server Pilot – he was to add “How to add Percona DB” to Server Pilot. Because of this he still had privileges.
The reaction to his article and my reply-article (I kept his article up but removed his name) was invigorating. One customer told me that the whole saga was way more interesting than the normal boring ‘optimising mysql’ stuff I’m always banging on about. 🙂
It made me realise that there is more of a story to tell, the story behind WP Intense, and it’s time to come clean.
How I ended up here
I left Skyscanner in 2011 to set up my own business – kinda messed up messing around with www.matiogi.com to try and feed paying job-seekers through to my recruitment psychometrics system which is now on www.improvedemployees.com. The fact is, if I could ever go back and spend time on either of those 2 sites I would make them a raging success. But at the time, I struggled.
I then got involved in Fitness Saver – an attempt to create an affiliate site specifically for fitness, treadmills, weights, protein shakes and bars etc. It was tough because I was the only one really that was full time although Stuart Burge sank a lot of time into it – at the time in the wrong direction – we had focused on SEO based on the idea of creating as much content as possible. This used to work, but Google Panda was released just as our traffic was starting to grow and first revenues arrive and ‘thin affiliate’ sites (or at least the new ones) were heavily penalised and our traffic tanked.
I remember reading the reasoning behind Panda and the new metrics that were emerging and realising that we’d been going about it wrong anyway. This new Google rule was actually going to be good for businesses and good for consumers. The biggest new metric was user engagement which is technically a measurement of time on site, pages visited, forms filled out, emails signed up to, social likes etc – that means if a user is visiting your site and they immediately click out on an affiliate link, they were only there on your site for like 5 seconds. When a user immediately clicks the back button instead and returns to the Google search results and clicks another different link, further down the list maybe and then sticks with that one – this is a seriously strong signal to Google that your site is not delivering what the user wanted.
With that in mind, Stuart went back to his business www.realtimeleisure.com, and I went on with www.affiliatewebdesigners.com – I started building tools to help affiliates make a profitable niche affiliate site in this new Panda-onwards world.
This is how I ended up working with Datafeedr, and it’s how I ended up realising there was a serious performance problem in the WooCommerce affiliate shop stack. WooCommerce was never really designed for shops with 100,000+ products – this is why their stock widgets are not as fast as mine. A year or so after I started conquering this performance problem on the back burner, www.ladesignconcepts.com got in touch to ask for help. They were happy for me to build a plugin (Scalability Pro) that would solve their performance problems and for me to promote the Scalability Pro plugin to all of you. My background has always been in performance, so I was keen to get paid to solve this problem and have an awesome scalability plugin at the end of it.
Public Specifications and Designs
I have some plugins coming out imminently that I’m dying to introduce you to, but I’ve realised that the best way for me to write a spec that finds the right enthused developer to make that spec a reality is to publish my specs for each plugin/product/app and where I’d like it to end up as a finished article.
I’m hoping that these specs will be commented on by all of you frustrated business-owners, dying to get back to the business of growing your business instead of having to think about tech all the time. If I put them out as a public spec – maybe someone will copy it – if they do, great! I have so much workload that if anyone takes and implements my specs then that’s fantastic news. Just do it as well as I would do it, or you’ll leave me no option but to launch a competitor plugin or app.
I’m not going to let writing these public specs hold up releasing v1 or the beta versions of these plugins, but moving forward I’ll be aiming for this approach.
New Ticketing System
Talking about workload, there is a new ticketing system in place at WP Intense. This applies to Plugin support, Rocket Stack support and Hiring WP Intense. The old Q&A system that has tons of duplicates in it will be gradually removed as I create all-encompassing FAQs and Guides for each question. On the Hiring WP Intense channel, I have implemented a pay up-front policy. Currently, for example, I have 14 bespoke work requests but only 2 clients have paid. With this pay up-front policy, it makes it easy for me to prioritise the work. If you’ve paid, it’ll get done. If you haven’t, I’m working on other stuff. This also eliminates all the admin work from my end related to invoicing and chasing late payers. Most of you have paid quickly in the past, but there’s enough who don’t to make me have to implement this new policy so that I can spend more time on what I’m actually good at instead of crappy, depressing admin work.
New Consultancy Model
I will continue to help those of you in urgent need – in particular with urgent Scalability issues – but in order to get more done and get it done quicker and better, I want to move to a general model of using me for consultancy to get your spec and design together. I’ll help you figure out all the aspects of where you want your product, website, plugins to be and where it could be but also where it will start from to get to there. I am partnering up with Codeable.io to get more stuff done and if you want to use my consultancy then together we can make specs for them to get a great finished product – whatever it is you need – or you can just skip my consultancy and go straight to writing a spec for them.
I’m going to have plenty of public examples of good specs, and templates you can use to submit a really good spec to Codeable – that’ll make it easy for you to skip my consultancy altogether. But if you do need me for consultancy, at whatever level, submit a ticket and we can talk about it.
New Plugin Development Model
I want to focus more on getting my ideas, specs and designs out there, then based on public and developer interest take the product from there. What I’m hoping is that we can find developers willing to reply with public quotes to my own public specifications. I don’t want quotes for any of this plugin work I do to be private any more. I want it to be public so you can all see the cost it will take to get this to various stages and so the developers are accountable.
With a public spec, public quotes and interest shown by upvotes and comments, I will be able to figure out if there’s enough interest to get this plugin made ASAP. If there is, I may ask for pre-orders to pay for development. All pre-orders will get lifetime licenses.
What I’ll be focusing on
I’ll still be coding my own plugins, but I’m definitely aiming to find passionate top-drawer developers who can spend more time on them than I can.
I’ll still be doing some coding for some of you. Especially if you need performance and/or scalability assistance, but generally I’m now avoiding taking on new clients so that I can focus on much needed plugin development.
My highest value is in guiding others, and that’s where I really want to focus. I’m aiming to do this through more articles published here, more videos, public specs and designs and potentially even group video chat (think Google Hangouts or a group Skype chat that’s recorded for the benefit of all).
I’ll also be publishing end to end guides and case studies about making affiliate-revenue websites as well as regular guides about understanding your customers in your market.
So far, I’ve not been chasing anyone for license renewals. But a change is coming. Firstly, I’m not taking on new clients for development work – this is so I can focus exclusively on upgrading and developing the various plugins I have on www.wpintense.com.
Secondly, upgrades to the plugins will soon stop working if you don’t have a current license (currently updates keep happening).
I have coded up the site to detect if you have purchased a product before and it will add a 75% discount coupon when you purchase a copy again to extend your license by another year.
Alternatively, if you go for the unlimited-use, lifetime-license option, you get 35% off.
The old Q&A system is dead – long-live the new ticketing system. Instead of having 15 answers to ‘too many entries in wp_options’ there will be one awesome guide. Same goes for other common questions. I’m a little bit behind with the current tickets list, but I’ll get through them soon – I’ve been on holiday.
The old Jira system is dead. If you’re waiting on an answer to either Q&A or Jira and you don’t have a ticket, you’ll be waiting a very long time.
If your support ticket is related to a plugin you have purchased, and is within scope of that plugin, the work will be completed for free. Otherwise you’ll be given a generous estimate of time, and once you pay it, work will commence.
If you are looking to get a feature added to a plugin, I’ll probably ask you if you wish to sponsor that feature – sponsoring would involve covering the development cost and in return you’d get that feature developed and a lifetime license for the plugin.
Typically, I will be guiding you towards using me for consultancy, and using Codeable to actually execute. This will free me up to help far more of you and publish far more content to help everyone.
And license renewals are now being charged – 75% off is generous, but I need to bring in money from the plugins so that I can make the change away from consultancy work to focus on plugin development.
You can also get 35% off the unlimited, lifetime license for any products you’ve purchased in the past – act now to grab this bargain
I hope I still have your support.